Are Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson long lost brothers?

Woody Harrelson, left, and Matthew McConaughey pose at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards
Woody Harrelson, left, and Matthew McConaughey pose at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards Copyright AP Photo
By Jonny Walfisz
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The actors think they might share the same father, after McConaughey's mother made a shocking revelation.


One of the strangest questions of the past week: Are Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson half-brothers? The star of Dallas Buyers Club seems to think they might be. 

The two American actors have worked opposite each other in the acclaimed HBO series True Detective, as well as both starring in the 1999 comedy film EDtv, and until now the relationship was thought to be only professional.

The pair are considering taking a DNA paternity test, McConaughey confirmed in a conversation on the ‘Let's Talk Off Camera with Kelly Ripa’ podcast.

“You know, where I start and where he ends, and where he starts and I end, has always been like a murky line,” McConaughey said.

“And that’s part of our bromance, right? My kids call him Uncle Woody. His kids call me Uncle Matthew. And you see pictures of us and my family thinks a lot of pictures of him are me. His family thinks a lot of pictures of me are him,” he continued.

Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson clown around at the premiere of "EDtv"KEVIN VIROBIK-ADAMS/AP1999

McConaughey explained that the pair were on holiday in Greece with his mother, when she mentioned that she’d known Harrelson’s father. “Everyone was aware of the ellipses that my mom left after ‘knew.’ It was a loaded K-N-E-W,” he recalled.

The 53-year-old actor then did some digging to realise that he was conceived when the 61-year-old Harrelson’s dad, Charles, was on furlough, and his parents were going through their second divorce.

Charles Harrelson was a convicted hitman who was convicted for armed robbery in 1960, acquitted for murder charges in 1973 after five years in prison, and then finally convicted for the assassination of a district judge in 1981, for which he received a life sentence. He also claimed to have assassinated JFK. He died in prison in 2007.

Charles V. Harrelson arriving at the federal courthouse in San Antonio, Texas in 1982BILL HABER/AP1982

“Look, it’s a little easier for Woody to say, ‘Come on, let’s do [DNA tests],’ because what’s the skin in it for him?” McConaughey said.

“It’s a little harder for me because he’s asking me to take a chance to go, ‘Wait a minute, you’re trying to tell me my dad may not be my dad after 53 years of believing that?’ I got a little more skin in the game,” the actor said, whose documented father is James Donald McConaughey.

The news comes alongside the pair promoting their new Apple TV+ show Brother from Another Mother, which features fictionalised versions of the actors. 

Todd Williamson/Todd Williamson/Invision/AP
Any family resemblance?Todd Williamson/Todd Williamson/Invision/AP

Whether this whole thing has been drummed up as publicity will depend on if they ever actually take that DNA test.

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